Because adding numbers is probably the most common function that Excel is used for, Excel has a built-in Feature called **AutoSum** located on the Standard toolbar. **AutoSum** is represented as the Greek Capital letter Sigma Σ. You can use **AutoSum** to sum a range of cells. A Range can be one single cell, or many cells. You can sum cells in a contiguous (no gaps) range of cells, or a non-contiguous (cells not joined together) range.

To use **AutoSum** you must click in the cell that you wish your result, or addition to appear in. As a default, **AutoSum** looks up a column for figures immediately above it to add together. This works great, unless it encounters a blank row or text. If it does, then it stops at the last cell with a number in it. If there are no numbers above it, **AutoSum** will automatically go to the left looking for numbers to add up, but will again stop at a blank column or text. This is Excel's default, but you can easily change it.

The SUM Function is written as =SUM(number 1, number 2). = is the trigger to Excel that a function or formula is following. SUM is the name of the function and (number 1, number 2) are the arguments that the SUM function needs to work, or in our case the numbers it is to add up. When you click the **AutoSum** icon, you will see the SUM function written in your cell, with a marquee (floating dotted line) around what the **AutoSum** intends to add up. If the highlighted range is what you wanted to add up, click OK, if not then change the range you wish to add.

Following are three screen shots showing the **AutoSum**.

**AutoSum** automatically picks up the numbers above it

**AutoSum** automatically looks left for numbers if it encounters no numbers immediately above it, but numbers to the left.

**AutoSum** automatically stops when it encounters a blank line, or text in the middle of the range it is trying to add up.

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